The East Quogue property that once housed a place known as “The Cave” now is just home to a large hole in the ground.
Last week, a construction crew razed the vacant building at 331 Montauk Highway in East Quogue next to Tony’s Asian Fusion. This could allow the property’s owner to subdivide and sell the land, Southampton Town Planning Board Chair Dennis Finnerty said Tuesday.
The property is in the estate of Madeline Cuomo and under the care of Carleen Cuomo of East Quogue, according to town records, although it is not clear how the two are related. Carleen Cuomo could not be immediately reached for comment.
“It was an eyesore for many years, and we’re glad to see it torn down,” Mr. Finnerty said.
The gray building on the property had gone through multiple stages, including a nightclub, he said, under names such as The Cave and Cruizin East in the 1960s and 1970s. The venue was even graced by the presence of live acts such as Captain and Tennille during its heyday, he recalled.
Five years ago, the Cuomos submitted a proposal to the Planning Board that the land, which is zoned for residential use, be subdivided, but the family ultimately dropped the proposal, which Mr. Finnerty credited to the poor economy at the time.
Two years ago, the Cuomos filed another proposal with the Planning Board and have since received conditional approval to subdivide the land into three parcels, provided they clear the former nightclub first.
Center Moriches-based TKF Excavating and Demolition was contracted to do the razing in September 2013 at an estimated cost of $15,000, according to a permit on file with town.
Now that the structure is gone, Mr. Finnerty expects the board to grant request in the near future, which will allow three houses to be built, each of which would be on parcels of less than an acre with access to Seashore Avenue. Mr. Finnerty estimated that each lot would sell for between $150,000 and $180,000.
By the 1980s, the club “just kind of ran its course,” Mr. Finnerty said, as it had run into troubles with the law. In the mid-90s, after the property had been re-zoned, the Cuomo family attempted to get a variance from the Southampton Town Zoning Board of Appeals to open a nightclub once again, but after surrounding neighbors rallied against the idea of a new club coming to the location, the ZBA did not grant the variance.
The Cuomos sued the ZBA, but a court ruled in favor of the town, Mr. Finnerty said, ending the property’s days as a club.